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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Dentistry & Orthodontics > Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Cost

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

low costOver-the-Counter: $20-$150+average costTake-Home Kit from a Dentist: $100-$500high costIn a Dentist's Office: $300-$1,000+
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There are three common options for whitening teeth: strips, gels or trays that you can buy at a drugstore; take-home customized whitening trays from dentists; and in-office whitening treatment by dentists. All three use peroxide to bleach the teeth, but they vary the concentration and type of peroxide, as well as the application methods and amount of time needed.

Typical costs:

  • Over-the-counter products like whitening pens or rinses with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $20 are typically intended to maintain or touch up a newly whitened smile and on their own provide at best a moderate shade change.
  • Over-the-counter whitening strips, gels, rinses or one-size-fits-all trays can be $20-$150 or more but typically cost $25-$100, depending on what is included. These products generally use a lower-strength, slower-acting bleaching agent like 10% carbamide peroxide (equivalent to about 3% hydrogen peroxide), and some use light to speed the whitening process. For example,Walgreens Whitening Trays cost $25-$35 for 14 pre-filled trays (but gets relatively negative user reviews), while the Luster 1-Hour Teeth Whitening Kit with light activation costs $40-$45 (with slightly more positive than negative user reviews).
  • Teeth whitening stores or stands in malls, spas, tanning salons, beauty salons or similar facilities typically charge $50-$200 per treatment, and use products and deliver results similar to over-the-counter systems. For example, Bocci Salon & Spa in Michigan charges $99 for an initial 15-minute treatment and another $49 to extend the session for an additional 15 minutes. At Oxygen Salon & Spa[1] in Colorado it costs $99 for a single 15- to 20-minute application, $149 for a double and $199 for a triple application.
  • Professionally dispensed kits from a dentist's office designed to be used at home typically cost $100-$500, depending on the location and dentist. Take-home whitening kits include custom-made trays and typically use a stronger bleaching agent than over-the-counter systems.
  • In-office teeth whitening treatments by a dentist can cost $300-$1,000 or more, but average about $500-$700. These typically use a high concentration (15%-43%) of fast-acting hydrogen peroxide; the teeth not being treated and the surrounding gums are covered with a protective coating or rubber dam. Some in-office systems use lights or lasers to speed the whitening process. Patients with particularly stubborn stains on their teeth may be asked to return for one or more additional sessions or given a take-home whitening kit for additional treatments -- and either option adds to the total cost.
  • Teeth whitening is generally considered cosmetic with no functional or health benefit, so it is typically not covered by dental insurance.
Related articles: Dental Veneers, Tooth Contouring, Fixing a Teeth Gap, Straightening Teeth, Braces, Teeth Cleaning

What should be included:
  • Whitening products only work on natural teeth and will not change the whiteness of fillings, crowns, veneers, dentures or other dental appliances. Whitening isn't permanent and the amount of improvement varies depending on the method used, but avoiding foods and beverages that cause stains will make the results last longer. provides an overview[2] plus a before-and-after photo[3] (slide number 8).
  • Although instructions vary, over-the-counter strips and gels are typically applied for 30 minutes twice daily for 14 days, while one-size-fits-all trays are generally used for 30 minutes a day for seven days. These products may lighten teeth one or two shades, and results usually last three to four months.
  • Teeth whitening services in spas and salons is a relatively new development, and somewhat controversial[4] . Some states allow teeth whitening only by a licensed dentist.
  • For a take-home whitening system, the dentist makes an impression of the patient's mouth, then a lab creates a custom-fitted whitening tray. At-home trays are typically used with a relatively low-concentration peroxide gel that remains on the teeth for an hour or more daily, or even overnight. The dentist may schedule several appointments, to monitor the process (including whether the gums are irritated). The results typically last up to a year or longer.
  • For in-office treatments, a whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. Often heat, light or a laser is used to accelerate the process. Treatments last 30 to 60 minutes. Results are often immediate, but several appointments may be needed. In-office whitening typically lasts a year or more.
Shopping for teeth whitening:
  • Whitening supplies are available from most supermarkets and drug stores, or online at sites like[5] and Amazon[6] .
  • Search for local dentists through the American Dental Association[7] or the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists[8] .
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Teeth Whitening
Amount: $45.00
Posted by: stainsonteeth in New York, NY.Posted: September 10th, 2014 07:09PM
Product Type: Power SwabsProvider/Store:
I used these and found them really good, no need for uncomfortable trays and strips, the use a swab, takes five mins to apply and you get instant results
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Teeth Whitener
Amount: $25.06
Posted by: Craigdw in New York, NY.Posted: October 17th, 2013 12:10PM
Product Type: Powder & SwabProvider/Store:
These worked well for me, it wasn't a messy experience and the results were quite noticeable.
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